Chasing the Renaissance

London, England So many things that we were hoping to see in Florence migrated years ago to places other than Italy, namely London and Washington DC. And since we’d much rather spend time in London than in our own capital, here we are.

We arrived on a day flight yesterday early evening and were up and at the National Gallery at a very reasonable hour.

Now, that didn’t mean we had smooth sailing from then on. The art we wanted to see is normally housed in the Sainsbury Wing, which — in a familiar refrain  — is closed, undergoing renovation. Some of the contents have been redistributed throughout the rest of the museum (see rooms 9 through 45), but only some of them.

We did find many treasures, proving once again that the British have had centuries of successful shopping in the antiquities markets.

We deviated from the Italian Renaissance to admire the works of the Netherlands. Vermeer, Rembrandt, Brueghel…with a few Van Dykes thrown in — a very rewarding detour in a very beautiful building.

The downpour we experienced in the morning turned into a lovely afternoon. London is ready for the holidays. No need to wait for Thanksgiving here.

Don’s Food Corner

Keeping with the theme of showing up expecting one thing and finding another, we set out to The Albany, a pub we had enjoyed during our last trip to London, to start tasting fish-and-chips and perhaps a little steak-and-ale pie only to find that a special event at the pub basically locked us out. Instead, we went to a nearby Italian restaurant that we had also enjoyed previously.

We started with some deep-fried calamari. It came with a dish of what looked like at first glance to be tartar sauce. Instead it was a thick concoction of anchovies and garlic. A little overpowering. The calamari was fresh squid, not those frozen rings that are all too often over-breaded and over-deep fried. Jo thought they looked too close to living creatures, so I got to eat the whole thing. (Photo was taken a bit late in the course.)

Jo then had a version of what might be called Veal Milanese or, better yet, Wiener Schnitzel. In other words, Jo’s favorite. Although delicately breaded and fried, it wasn’t quite what Jo had in mind, but it did the trick. It came with a large side of spaghetti with a very nice and pure Pomodoro sauce.

I tried pappardelle with yet another version of Bolognese sauce. This take on the classic dish, which has many interpretations, was more like the meat-heavy approach seen in Florence than the more delicate style you find in Bologna.

Then, just for fun, we had a side of deep-fried zucchini. I didn’t go with anything else, but so what? You have to have a veg.

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